A strong Europe means a strong Western Balkans and vice versa. Even though they are geographically indivisible, they seem distant from each other when it comes to the values they cherish, their economic status and living standards, and most of all, when it comes to their vision of a common future. These so-called ‘two ends’ will meet this July in Trieste at the fourth Western Balkans’ Summit - part of the Berlin initiative.
After the successful completion of the ‘Teaching for Learning’ workshop in Belgrade last weekend, the ePACT team, together with the trainers from the Serbian Ministry of Education, traveled to Niš in southern Serbia to implement the second pilot training session, within the framework of ePACT.
Mr. Dragan Gejo, Head of the Regional School Department, opened the two day training workshop and highlighted the importance of such initiatives that help teachers improve their skills and familiarise themselves with new methodologies.
The opening speech of Mr Aleksandar Pajić, Assistant Minister of Education in Serbia, strongly confirmed the excellent cooperation between the Ministries of Education in the six target countries within which the ePACT project is implemented and the two operating organisations - CDRSEE and Euroclio. Ms Kovac, Executive Director of CDRSEE, also highlighted that cooperation between the state authorities and the civil society organisations can benefit society as a whole more effectively than when they operate separately.
At a seminar organised for the CDRSEE in Luxembourg by the European Investment Bank (EIB) together with the EIB Institute on 23 March, our Executive Director Zvezdana Kovac raised the problems the Western Balkans faces once again and how it needs the EU now more than ever to counter extremism and deal with the refugee problem.
Positive feedback has been received by both the participants and trainers of the two workshops organised under the auspices of the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology in Kosovo. After successfully completing two trainings in Montenegro in December 2016 - ePACT, a project co-organised by the CDRSEE and Euroclio with the support of the Austrian Development Agency, implemented another two 'Teaching for Learning' workshops in Kosovo.
Making up over 56% of the total migrant population, the Albanian community is the single largest group of migrants in Greece, and one that has experienced both struggles and solidarity in settling and integrating in the country.
Today most of the Western Balkan countries wait at the EU’s door in an almost endless queue. As they inch their way towards it, the further away it appears. The comparison with the disintegration of Yugoslavia seems to be the word on the street; we can now read and hear of the fear of a similar denouement once again. The ominous lyrics of a famous Yugoslav song from the eve of the nineties "Just let there be no war" are being referred to today. As individuals or a group of individuals, we need to react to what appears to be a return to the situation in the 90s. We must show that the solidarity which the EU lacked from its inception, is indispensable for the well-being and prosperity in Europe.
2017 kicked-off with another two regional launches of the new JHP workbooks in Zagreb on 17 January and in Sarajevo on 19 January.
Starting our new year with some good news, the CDRSEE wishes to congratulate Croatian historian Hrvoje Klasić, member of the JHP source committee, on being the recipient of the ’Svetozar Pribicevic’ award for the improvement of Croatian-Serbian relations.
The award was given during the annual Christmas reception of the Serb National Council, a body acting as a self-governing authority for Serbs in the Republic of Croatia concerning the issues of their identity, civil and national rights.
During the reception speech Mr Klasić addressed the participants and said:
Two Regional Launches of the new JHP Workbooks were held in Podgorica on 8 December and in Belgrade on 20 December. Both were held in the respective Ministries of Education with representatives from the diplomatic core, international organisations, history teachers associations and other NGOs and CSOs participating in each of them. The panelists all agreed that the main aim of teaching history in schools should be to promote democracy, foster dialogue, and in so doing - overcome conflicts and promote peace.